Vodka Wars: Ultimat Steps Up To The Plate, Unveiling New $8 Million Marketing EffortOctober 4, 2011
Patrón Spirits International yesterday announced a new $8 million marketing campaign for Ultimat vodka, its biggest effort for the brand since purchasing it four years ago. The campaign raises the stakes significantly for Ultimat, which seeks to replicate the long-running success of portfoliomate Patrón Tequila.
Launching in mid-October, the new Ultimat campaign is tagged “Find Balance, Find Ultimat,” and centers on the theme of achieving a balance between work and play. The target audience is hard-working professionals who spend long hours at the office and need more leisure time. The “Find Balance” theme also references the vodka itself, as Ultimat stresses the fact that it’s the only vodka made from wheat, rye and potato. Creative was done by New York-based Amalgamated and replaces the brand’s “Live Ultimately” and “Good, Better, Ultimat” campaign. The previous creative was done by Dallas-based Richards Group, which still has the account for Patrón Tequila.
Patrón acquired Ultimat from Adamba Imports in October 2007 and began a new rollout in mid-2008—just as the recession was beginning. The initial launch took a limited approach, moving Ultimat into metro markets of Boston, San Francisco, Chicago and New York, in addition to New Jersey. The brand was supported with above-the-line activity, mainly through billboards and local magazine advertising. By the end of 2009, Ultimat was in all 50 states. Its strategy has been on-premise driven, similar to the approach taken with Patrón Tequila. Ultimat retails at $40 a 750-ml. and reached just 23,000 cases last year, so it’s got a long way to go before breaking into the big leagues. Vodka is a big-volume category even for high-end players like Grey Goose ($31), which depleted 3.4 million cases last year.
The outlook for vodka remains bullish, but the category is more crowded than ever. Ad spending is therefore vital—particularly for high-end brands like Ultimat. If anyone doubted the link between advertising and brand success, a look at the table below confirms the connection: four of the top five vodka advertisers in the U.S. are also in the top five by volume (Smirnoff, Absolut, Grey Goose and Skyy). The lone top-five vodka not among the top five advertisers is Svedka, which at $15 a 750-ml. competes on price against super-premium brands like Absolut ($20) and Stoli ($20).
|USA – Top 10 Advertised Vodka Brands, 2010|
|Absolut||Pernod Ricard USA||$23.7||4,631||$5.11|
|Skyy||Skyy Spirits (Campari)||$13.9||2,700||$5.14|
|Grey Goose||Bacardi USA||$12.5||3,400||$3.67|
|Smirnoff||Diageo North America||$12.9||9,550||$1.35|
|Belvedere||Moët Hennessy USA (LVMH)||$10.9||396||$27.64|
|Ketel One||Diageo North America||$10.1||1,900||$5.29|
|Stolichnaya||William Grant & Sons USA||$8.6||1,800||$4.77|
|Cîroc||Diageo North America||$5.4||685||$7.91|
|Total Top 10||$110.9||28,353||$3.91|
2millions of dollars (Source=Kantar Media)
3thousands of nine-liter case depletions (Source: Impact Databank)
4based on unrounded data